All About Anne Arundel Birding  


Anne Arundel County is a great location to enjoy birds. Its varied habitats allow birdwatchers to find many different species, and seasonal changes are very significant. The County's large amount of shoreline provides birding opportunities not available to some other nearby regions. While increasing development has diminished the amount of forests, fields, and accessible beach, knowledgeable birders can often find favorable areas where these habitats remain, and ready access to the Eastern Shore allows for day trips to less developed areas. The Anne Arundel Bird Club has maintained several types of records of local birds seen by its members, and as described below, we have made some of them available online.

Anne Arundel Bird Club's By-Laws can be found clicking the ‘email me’ button below!

Christmas Bird Count Results. As part of a hemisphere-wide effort to track bird populations, each year around New Years Day the Anne Arundel Bird Club conducts a count of birds within a 15 mile (diameter) circle, centered roughly on Annapolis. We typically tally 100 species on this count, dating back to 1997, with a few rarities thrown in for good measure. Further data from the Anne Arundel and similar bird counts throughout North America are available on the Audubon Society's website.

Spring Bird Count Results. Spring migration is an exciting time for birdwatchers, and our area provides excellent opportunities to observe brilliantly plumaged birds arriving to nest locally and migrating towards more northerly breeding grounds. The Anne Arundel Bird Club has sponsored "Spring Counts," in which members report the numbers and species they see on one day in early-mid May. While not as intensively monitored as the Christmas Count, the Spring Count results show what experienced birders can find in Anne Arundel County at this time of year. Results go back to 2003 and are available upon request (click the email button below).

Fort Smallwood Spring Hawk Migration Counts. Fort Smallwood is an Anne Arundel County park located at the mouth of the Patapsco River, where it joins the Chesapeake Bay. Northward-migrating raptors hesitate to cross open water and tend to pause over this park, making it an outstanding East Coast spring hawk-watching site. Local birders have summarized results of their hawk-counts here.

Birding Hotspots in Anne Arundel:

Meyer Station: A private sanctuary with woodland and swamp along the Patuxent River. Stay on the main trails. Contact Mr. Russell (Buz) Meyer (301 261 6996) for permission to access this sanctuary. Located at the end of Meyer Station Road. (Map)

Anne Arundel County Parks: Lists some great places to bird in our County!

Kinder Farm Park: Located off Jumpers Hole Rd. in Severna Park. Woodlands and fields. (Friends of KFP)

B&A Trail Park: Great bike path following the old B&A railroad right-of-way through woodsy suburbs. Stop your bike in areas of good habitat and check for birds.

Downs Park: Located on the Chesapeake in Northern AA County. Good water views and woodland trails.

Oxbow Lake: Located in the community of Russert, on the Little Patuxent in Western AA County near Laurel.

Quiet Waters Park: Overlooking the South River on the Annapolis Peninsula. Great water views, woodlands and a small freshwater marsh. (Friends of QWP) (Map)

Thomas Point: Small County park located at the tip of the Annapolis Peninsula surrounded by the Chesapeake. This is a good location for wintering waterfowl. Spotting scopes are useful. Parking is very limited so access has to be arranged beforehand. Call 410-222-1777 to make arrangement.

Greenbury Point: US Naval Academy property located at the mouth of the Severn River and Whitehall Creek, on the Chesapeake. Great water views, with many acres of scrub/field habitat under the radio towers (bobwhites!). Public access Thursdays 1-5pm and the first Saturday of the month, 8am-3pm. Do not go beyond the rifle range signs if they are up. (Websites: USNA)

Patuxent Wildlife Refuge System: (North Tract) Large inland area with a variety of habitats--overgrown fields, woods, ponds, freshwater marshes, streams. Abandoned military area with miles of trails and roads; bicycling an option on some. Near the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Rte 32. Entrance off Rte 198 near Ft. Meade. Stop at Visitor Contact Station for an Access Permit. Open 8am to 4pm except Federal holidays. Refuge staff/volunteers organize some birding tours. (Info: 410-674-3304)

Fort Smallwood Park (Hawk Watch): Located at end of Fort Smallwood Rd (Rte 173) at the mouth of the Patapsco River, overlooking the Chesapeake, in north AA County. Good beach, woodland and pond habitats. Excellent for migrant raptors, particularly in the spring. AABC members are active participants in a spring hawk watch in which raptors are counted daily; visitors are welcome to join them. Park entrance fee. Open 7am to dusk.

Sandy Point State Park: Large park just north of the Bay Bridge, access from Rte 50 & 301. Excellent area for migrant raptors, warblers, shorebirds, waterfowl, and gulls. Contains wooded and marshy areas as well as beach, which can be crowded in summer. Boat launching area provides a good opportunity for kayak launching and birding along the shore south of the park, but check the weather forecasts carefully as you will be directly on the Chesapeake Bay. Entrance fee according to day and season. Seasonal hours.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center: A global leader in the study of ecosystems in the coastal zone. A large tract of wooded land on the tidal Rhode River with trails and a kayak/canoe launching area. This research facility has allowed public access in the last few years. Excellent opportunity to observe marsh, estuarine and wooded habitats, especially from the water. Trail guides available on site and some guided tours are provided by the Smithsonian staff. Open 9am-4:30pm, Mon-Sat. No fee for access, $5 fee for boat launch. Check-in required!

Naval Academy Dairy Farm: An agricultural and environmental gem in Western Anne Arundel County. Permit required!

Jug Bay Sanctuary: Over 1400 acres of tidal freshwater wetlands, forests, meadows and fields along the Patuxent River. County park located on the Patuxent River in Southern Anne Arundel County. Lots of freshwater tidal marsh and woodlands. Acres of wild rice attract many birds in the fall, including soras. Access to the Sanctuary is limited so check their website for details. The adjoining Glendening Nature Preserve is open to the public daily.

MDOSPREY: A LISTSERV for birders to reach out to other people throughout Maryland about bird sightings, news and events. An online community of birders all over the state and from anywhere else in the world who share an interest in birding in Maryland.

More About Conservation, Birding and Citizen Science:

ABC Birds: The American Bird Conservancy

Audubon: The organization that started it all.

eBird: We STRONGLY ENCOURAGE all birders to use eBird!

Great Sites for the Protection of Anne Arundel County's Natural Resources:

Sierra Club: Anne Arundel Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Maryland Department of the Natural Resources: Protect Maryland's Natural Resources.

Scenic Rivers Land Trust: Protecting land and educating landholders on conservation and stewardship.

Severn Riverkeeper: Promote, preserve, and restore the environmental health of the Severn River.

Severn River Association: Promote, preserve, and restore the environmental health of the Severn River.

South River Federation: Promote, preserve, and restore the environmental health of the South River.

Magothy River Association: Promote, preserve, and restore the environmental health of the Magothy River.

West Rhode Riverkeeper: Focused on enforcement of environmental laws on the West and Rhode Rivers.

Anne Arundel County Greenways: Eleven Trails and Greenways in our County!

Chesapeake Environmental Protection Agency: Helping to Save our Bay.

Maryland Department of the Environment: Protect and restore the quality of Maryland’s air, water, and land resources, while fostering smart growth, economic development, healthy and safe communities, and quality environmental education for the benefit of the environment, public health, and future generations.

Information You Can Use...

Join the Anne Arundel Bird Club:

Membership in the Anne Arundel Bird Club includes membership in the MOS and subscriptions to the MOS publications:

-Maryland Birdlife (quarterly)
-Maryland Yellowthroat (bimonthly)


The membership year begins September 1st and yearly dues are as follows:

Individual: $28.00 Household: $35.00
Sustaining: $60.00
Under 18: $6.00

*Special dues are available for Life Members and Honorary Members as well.

Note: Dues for new members joining after March 1 shall be 1/2 for all classes of membership except for Sustaining and Life.

For field trip information, upcoming events, and to contact us, please click the EMAIL ME button below!